European bureaucrats unhappy with U.S. climate policy

by William Yeatman on June 22, 2004

in Politics

European bureaucrats are bitter about U.S. policies on climate change and may voice this opinion at the Group of Eight (G8) meeting in the United Kingdom next year.  Hans Verolme, a Dutch national employed as senior environment advisor at the British Embassy in Washington said at a seminar held by the European Institute on June 21 to discuss the new European emissions trading scheme, Its quite obvious that my prime minister is disappointed at the state of play in the United States (we presume he means Tony Blair and not Jan Peter Balkenende) and the U.S. should watch [its] space at the G8 meeting.

Robert Donkers, counselor for environmental affairs at the European Commissions Washington, D.C. delegation, gave a strongly negative assessment of U. S. environmental policies at the European Institute event.  He supports working directly with some States on the European Unions new Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).  He also said, We are not so inclined to think that technology will give us all the solutions.  Luckily, we are converging with some States in the U.S.  Donkers concluded by advising that it was high time to end the short term cowboy economy (in the U. S.) and to find common ground again with the EU. 

In contrast, Andrei Marcu, president and chief executive officer of the International Emission Trading Association, cautioned European officials from relying too heavily on emissions trading to achieve reductions, stating that technology has to provide at the end of the day the solution and that trading alone is not a solution. (Greenwire, June 22).

Bertrand Collomb, the chairman of French cement maker Lafarge and also the new chairman of the World Business Council on Sustainable Development, also expressed concerns about the success of the ETS and about the EUs use of the precautionary principle.

The head of the Chicago Climate Exchange, Richard Sandor, proclaimed that his exchange for trading emissions allowances was already a success and that the EU only needed to follow the example he had created.  Former U. S. Ambassador Richard Benedick, now with Battelle Pacific Northwest National Laboratories, replied that Sandors claims had the faint whiff of the snake oil salesman.

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